Thread of Bruce

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Not sure whether I would describe Bruce’s 2023 releases as my favourite music of this year, but they’re certainly up there, and I feel like it might be some of the most interesting. Basically, this is overwrought David Sylvian balladry dressed in post-dubstep/jungle rhythmic and textural wizardry. But the execution and the small details matter. One of the limits of eighties revivalism in general is not merely its sheer preponderance but also the habitually flattening approach to arrangements it tends to invite. This is the opposite: rollicking, unpredictable, topographical.

I’ll call out just my favourite efforts:

With its nervous cymbal tapping and beats constantly being sucked into a black hole, “Antler” tries to negotiate the space between Talk Talk’s “New Grass” and Photek’s “KJZ”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBbOV4_FhD4

“Broken” could be early Junior Boys if you squint, but on closer examination it’s much less moored, borrowing the rhythmic architecture of 2-step but liberating it from any notion of fidelity to an underlying groove, so the rhythm writhes and snaps like only garage’s most far out moments (Dem 2 remixing Basement Jaxx; James Lavonz’s “Mash Up Da Venue”), while the fragmentary song it weaves around reminds me a bit of “Cry Me A River”.

“Dappled Light” starts off like a straight “Ghosts” recreation (all shimmering chimes and filigree), but then goes falsetto and introduces a stop-start jungle beat that haltingly, feebly gestures towards taking-off, like an engine turning over but never starting.

Tim F, Tuesday, 10 October 2023 21:15 (nine months ago) link

I like this, it sounds like a missing link no one was looking for. Strongly r&b too.

Nabozo, Wednesday, 11 October 2023 08:41 (nine months ago) link

So far I haven't clicked with the vocal material but I like his earlier records, although admittedly I've often confused him with Joe (I mean c'mon, they've both released on the same labels, and tbh I much prefer Joe).

But I love that you love it Tim, and will give it a closer listen.

Bandcamp links:
https://wordsofbruce.bandcamp.com/album/ready
https://wordsofbruce.bandcamp.com/album/not-2

Jordan s/t (Jordan), Wednesday, 11 October 2023 14:17 (nine months ago) link

Joe link was supposed to be -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHEp0Wt3A4Y

Jordan s/t (Jordan), Wednesday, 11 October 2023 14:17 (nine months ago) link

three weeks pass...

these two EPs played together make my favourite album of the year

boxedjoy, Thursday, 2 November 2023 16:46 (eight months ago) link

"Moonsistent" is lovely.

Tim F, Friday, 3 November 2023 00:33 (eight months ago) link

one month passes...

I’m not sure new track “He’s My Ex” is entirely successful, but it’s certainly startling.

Tim F, Monday, 4 December 2023 11:33 (seven months ago) link

one month passes...

I really should summon up the energy to talk about the album, which I love, but which also feels exhausting to try to write about.

Tim F, Thursday, 11 January 2024 07:56 (six months ago) link

There's some vocal stylings that remind me of Dave Gahan on "Cala Mastella" and others. Need to spend more time with the album.

etc, Friday, 12 January 2024 08:18 (six months ago) link

Hmm...I should investigate.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 12 January 2024 19:02 (six months ago) link

five months pass...

Wow, I think Sonder Somatic was one of the best of 2018 and I cannot stand this newer sound at all.

butt dumb tight my boners got boners (the table is the table), Wednesday, 10 July 2024 18:17 (two days ago) link


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